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Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will allow the redesignation of primary schools as three to 11 year-old schools at the request of local education authorities. 
Mr. Timms: Where a local education authority wishes to alter the age range of a community primary school, by a year or more, it must publish notices to do so after consulting all interested parties, in particular the local early years development and child care partnership. If there are no objections and the proposals are not linked to others to be decided by the local school organisation committee, the local education authority may determine to implement them. In other cases it will be for the school organisation committee, or, where the school organisation committee does not reach a unanimous view, the Schools
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Adjudicator, to decide whether the change can be made. In the case of voluntary or foundation schools it is for the governing body to publish proposals, but the decision- making procedure is otherwise the same. The Secretary of State no longer decides such proposals.
The review will cover the key areas that form the overall mission of the higher education sector, looking to the longer-term structure of incentives required to ensure that each is resourced and supported. The areas being considered in the review are:
Linking universities with industry and communities
Management and leadership.
Mr. Timms: The average size of a secondary class taught by one teacher in England in January 2001 was 22.0. The January 2001 figure also shows that the secondary pupil/teacher ratio improved for the first time in 10 years and now stands at 17.1. The improvement reflects increased Government spending on schools.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she intends to make provision for increases in employers' contributions to teachers' pension costs in 200203 in her support to education authorities. 
Mr. Timms: In 200203 education standard spending will increase by over £1.3 billion, a 6 per cent. rise on this year's figures. The 6 per cent. increase is enough to cover all the cost pressures on local education authorities next year, including the rise in employers' contributions to teachers' pensions.
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Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what is the average (a) pupil-teacher ratio in secondary schools in England and (b) pupil- teacher ratio for specialist schools. 
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the various means of selection used by those specialist schools which select a proportion of their intake; and what advice has been given by her Department on the means of selection which may be used. 
Mr. Timms: We do not hold information on the means of selection. Admission arrangements are set locally by a school's admission authority (local education authorities for community and controlled schools, and the governing
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body for aided and foundation schools), and this includes deciding how children will be tested for their aptitude for a particular subject. My Department's code of practice on school admissions (1999) advises that:
Mr. Timms: The latest available information is for school year 19992000. For that year, specialist schools which had selected a proportion of their pupils by aptitude for a subject or subjects relevant to their specialist designation, together with the percentage of pupils selected in each school, is shown in the table.
|Technology||Archbishop Blanch School||Liverpool||5.6|
|Technology||Archbishop Temple School||Lancashire||10.0|
|Arts||Brentwood Ursuline Convent School||Essex||10.0|
|Technology||Chaucer Technology School||Kent||Up to 100|
|Arts||Chestnut Grove School||Wandsworth||16.0|
|Technology||Deacon's School||Peterborough, City||15.0|
|Technology||George Spencer GM School||Nottinghamshire||10.0|
|Language||Hockerill Anglo European School||Hertfordshire||10.0|
|Arts||Intake High School||Leeds||10.0|
|Technology||Lodge Park School||Northamptonshire||10.0|
|Technology||Lynn Grove VA High School||Norfolk||15.0|
|Technology||Mill Hill County High School||Barnet, London borough of||10.0|
|Sports||Oldfield School||Bath and North East Somerset||10.0|
|Technology||Philip Morant School||Essex||15.0|
|Technology||Sandwich Technology School||Kent||10.0|
|Technology||Small Heath School||Birmingham||10.0|
|Technology||St. Margaret's C of E High School||Liverpool||15.0|
|Technology||St. Martin's School||Essex||10.0|
|Arts||St. Marylebone School (The)||Westminster||10.0|
|Sports||Wye Valley School (The)||Buckinghamshire||10.0|
This information was taken from progress reports submitted by 403 schools in December 2000. Progress reports for schools operational as of September 2000 are currently being received but the information from these has not yet been collated.
The 1998 School Standards and Framework Act provides for schools with a specialism to select up to 10 per cent. of their intake on the basis of aptitude for a specialist subject prescribed in regulations. Prior to the 1998 Act schools had greater discretion over aptitude selection and this accounts for the percentages above 10 per cent.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many specialist schools (a) allow primary schools to use their facilities and (b) provide specialist teaching in neighbouring primary schools. 
Mr. Timms: We do not hold collective records of specialist school involvement with primary schools under these headings. However, all specialist schools have arrangements with primary schools whereby the latter benefit from use of the specialist school's facilities or staff time or both.
Mr. Timms: We expect every specialist school to have arrangements whereby some members of the local community benefit from the use of some of the school's facilities. We do not collect data on the ways in which this expectation is realised.
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on the volume of correspondence from Members of Parliament received by ministerial agency chief executives and Departments and agencies, and performance in handling them, is published annually by the Cabinet Office. The most recent report, covering the year 2000, was announced by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office on 6 April 2001, Official Report, column 325W. Between 20 June and 20 July 2001, the volume of correspondence received by my Department and percentage of replies within the set target was:
Percentage of replies sent within the target: 71 per cent.
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